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Crews rescue skier who got lost on Powder Mountain; man suffered minor frostbite

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Posted at 3:50 PM, Jan 02, 2016
and last updated 2016-01-02 19:44:21-05

EDEN, Utah - Weber county search and rescue crews rescued a California man Friday night after he got lost near Powder Mountain ski resort in freezing temperatures.

Ski patrol says 33-year-old Michael Nessl went skiing alone earlier in the day, but somehow got lost out of boundaries.

Nessl contacted his wife saying he was lost, and she called for help. Ski patrol and search and rescue crews began looking where Nessl said he was, but crews say Nessl didn’t stay put.

“They located a lot of different tracks that circled around, back-tracked,” said Weber County Sheriff’s Office Lt. Brandon Toll. “They just were really confusing tracks for several hours.”

Crews brought in the DPS helicopter after the sun set. Crews eventually found Nessl just after midnight. The temperature had reached -4 degrees Fahrenheit.

“They could hear yelling from down the canyon,” said Toll. “They immediately continued down that track.”

Helicopter crews airlifted Nessl out of the canyon and paramedics found he only had minor frostbite.

The area where they found him is on Powder Mountain property, and is known as Lefties. Ski patrol director Keith Moore said they use it for CAT training, but said the area is roped off. Resort managers take great lengths to keep people out of that area.

“With the acreage we have, we’ve stretched quite a lot of rope and bamboo,” said Moore. “It’s intensive, we try and keep people as safe as we can, but some people may or may not adhere to the rules.”

Moore said it’s the second rescue they’ve had where people went out of bounds. They urge skiers to become familiar with terrain before heading out, and always watch for boundary signs.